Format: Black & White, Subtitled, Widescreen
Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
Number of discs: 3
Studio: Criterion Collection
Release Date: February 25, 2014
Run Time: 90 minutes
I could spend an entire review merely discussion the significance that Breathless had on cinema, internationally. Cinema as we know it today is still carrying waves of the initial impact of films like Breathless, radical pioneers in an ever-changing (and growing) art form. Even if you don’t care for French New Wave or Jean-Luc Godard’s ironic and cold homage to film noir narratives, there is no denying its ultimate significance and influence that Breathless had on modern cinema.
As I said, I could spend the entire review discussing the significance of Breathless, but there are 80-pages of others far better equipped to do so in the booklet insert for Criterion’s dual format Blu-ray/DVD release of Godard’s classic. The booklet includes an essay by film scholar Dudley Andrew, collected writings of Godard, François Truffaut’s original film treatment and Godard’s scenario. This is all with production photos and cast and crew information as well.
The discs themselves include a single disc Blu-ray and two DVD discs to fit all of the material. Along with the spectacular booklet insert, there are enough special features to fill an entire second DVD. The Blu-ray includes a restored high-definition digital transfer approved by director of photography Raoul Coutard, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack. Special features on both formats include archival interviews with Godard and actors Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg, and Jean-Pierre Melville, as well as interviews from 2007 with Coutard, assistant director Pierre Rissient and filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker. Also included are two video essays and an 80-minute documentary about the making and significance of Breathless. As if this were not enough, an additional short film from Godard in 1959, just before he made Breathless in 1960, is also included in the extras.
Entertainment Value: 7.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 9/10
Historical Significance: 10/10
Special Features: 10/10